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The Bylas Arizona Collection

Identifier: S002
Records consist of monthly and annual statistical and financial reports from 1923-1973, correspondence from 1940-1972, and minutes of the meetings of various groups relating to the mission work in Bylas.


  • 1923 - 1973


Conditions Governing Use

Copyright restrictions may apply. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


1 Box : 1 record box containing 44 file folders of materials

Biographical / Historical

The first WELS mission work among the Apache Indians in Bylas, AZ was begun in 1903, when a missionary serving a different group of Apaches began to make regular, although not weekly, visits to Bylas. That work was continued by Pastor Alfred Uplegger of the Globe and San Carlos congregations, who continued making regular visits from 1917-1920. Because of God’s blessings on Upleggar’s efforts, in 1920 Bylas received its first resident missionary, Pastor G. J. Schlegel.

Under Schlegel’s direction, Our Savior Lutheran Church was formed, and the church building was constructed in 1922. At the time, Our Savior was the only Christian church in Bylas. In 1924, Schlegel was started a school in conjunction with the church, and the first school room of the mission was built in 1926.

By God’s grace, both the congregation and the school grew. By the 1960s, Our Savior Lutheran Church had around 350 baptized members and averaged over 100 people each week in its Sunday morning service. Our Savior Lutheran School at times had over 100 students and up to four teachers. Eventually, enrollees were limited to the children of communicant members, in order to keep the enrolment manageable.

Pastors of the Bylas congregation included G. J. Schlegel (1920-1926), Pastor Hillmer (1926-1929), Paul Behn (1929-1931), Ernest Sprengeler (1931-1948), Allen Schuppenhauer (1948-1951), Joel Sauer (1952-1956), Carl Palenske (1956-1961), John Hering (1961-1968), and Lyle Sonntag (1968 - end of records).

Repository Details

Part of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod Archives Repository